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Return of Brooklyn's Backcourt

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Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE

Two years ago, after the Nets traded for Joe Johnson and re-signed Deron Williams, they went on a marketing binge, declaring "Brooklyn's Backcourt" the league's best. They even held a borough hall pep rally and trademarked the phrase.

For whatever reason, the D-Will - J.J. combination has never matched the hype and now with Jason Kidd re-jiggering the lineup the two aren't even a backourt per se. Johnson starts at small forward, Williams at off-guard and Shaun Livingston at the point.  But if the Nets are going to succeed this year, they will need the two original members of Brooklyn' Backcourt to take over.

Johnson, particularly in the absence of Williams, has proven he can do that job, playing at an All-Star level recently.  As Rod Boone writes...

Who knows where the Nets would be without Johnson? His scoring prowess and ability to create mismatches with his 6-7, 240-pound frame is uncanny, at times leaving his own teammates in awe. He's averaging 24.4 points and 4.4 assists in his last five games, hitting a blistering 46.4 percent of his three-point attempts.

With D-Will expected back soon,perhaps as early as Monday, the question is how everyone, including a resurgent Kevin Garnett, can be re-integrated ... and in a new system.  Stefan Bondy writes the season could depend on it...

It raises the question: How hard will it be to integrate Williams, who has struggled this season, into a lineup that has thrived with Shaun Livingston as the point guard.

"We don’t need to integrate Deron. He’s a great player," Andrei Kirilenko said. "He’s a huge option for our team."

As Reed Wallach points out, the schedule does get easier. It gets more emotional as well, with games against the Knicks and Celtics this week. But the Nets have confidence going forward.